RSGB SSB Field Day – G5BK/P

Again my local club, CARA, decided to have a bash at another contest. This time it was SSB Field day. Like NFD I provided the station and a 120 foot doublet this time. We actually used my IC-7300 as it’s easy to extract from the shack, unlike the K3. It performed very well, but integration could have been better with N1MM+ for voice keying etc had I had more set-up time before the contest.

The inbuilt ATU in the rig didn’t like the doublet fed via balun and coax, nor did my LDG AT100Pro2, but that appears to have a fault. In the end I drove home and grabbed the KAT500 and SGC230 just in case. In the end the KAT500 tuned the aerial fine.

We made 398q in the end, more thanks to the efforts of Martin G4ENZ than my operating time – which was limited. We did have a couple of other club members try out HF contesting, so hopefully they’ll appear in other events too.

70MHz Trophy 2016

I didn’t manage to get out to my /P location for this contest, instead I had a few QSOs with the IC-7300 feeding the new EAntenna 6/4m dual-band Moxon antenna. I only worked 5 stations, all SSB, though I did call CQ on CW for a while. I only spent around 45 minutes in the shack in all.

Hopefully will get out portable next time.

IARU HF Contest 2016 – GR2HQ

This year I was an operator on the GR2HQ, UK team for the IARU HF Contest. I travelled up to join the folks at the Brimham Contest Group G6MC, a club I used to be a member of back in my University days.

I spent my time on 20m CW, which was great fun. Plenty of QSOs to keep us awake!

RSGB NFD 2016 – G5BK/P

This year my local club, CARA, managed to put a 4 person team together for NFD. I was in charge of providing the station, which was a K3 and 265 foot doublet at 11m above ground in and Inverted-V configuration.

We made 1000q in the contest, which fell to just under after adjudication and did pretty well considering it wasn’t a totally serious effort.

70MHz Contest CW 2016

For the first time in a while I managed to get out to the /P spot in IO81VT for a 4m contest. I used my Icom IC-7100 with 50W into the 5 element Powabeam up at about 5m AGL.

I made 27 QSOs, activity seemed down on previous entries. Best DX was GM4ZUK/P but a nice surprise was to work an ON4 station early on. This was a new country on 4m for me. I kept CQing to the East but no more continental EU stations heard or worked.

Everything worked flawlessly, though it does appear that my LDG ATU that was in line (for HF mobile) wasn’t actually in proper bypass mode. I found this when the SWR on 4m went high. Looks like a couple of toroid coils got rather warm and melted the hot-melt glue holding them in place. Oops! Taking the unit out of circuit completely solved the problem and it still appears to work at HF but more testing required.

Hopefully there will be more activity next time, I had thought that with the prevalence of commercially available 4m kit that activity levels would have increased.

UKEICC 80m CW – 30th March 2016

This is the first time I have entered one of the UKEICC evening contests. The format was different, without the need for sending ‘5NN’ but just my locator to four characters.

Worked 59 QSOs, 100W into the Inverted-L, logging with DXLog and without an RBN or cluster connection.

70MHz UKAC – 29th March 2016

This is the first one of these contests I’ve done for some time. I didn’t get chance to get out portable but was test driving the IC-7300 from home, 50W into a badly adjusted halo on the back of the house.

Thinking on what improvements I can make to the 4m aerial, at the very least build and tune a halo that doesn’t get affected by the weather.

FOC BW QSO Party March 2016

 

This BWQP was a lot of fun, had some nice chats with some friends, met 5 members I’d not worked before. Seemingly surprised a couple of guys with band conditions.

As usual 100W into a G3TPW Cobwebb (20-10m), 40m Inverted-V dipole, 80m Inverted-L. I was using DXlog to log, seemed to perform well though the built in database in the BWQP definition file is incomplete and out of date. Not a problem though, the grey blob between my ears and my fingers can fill in the details. 😉
I was putting the new Icom IC-7300 through its paces. I went down to the emporium on Friday to collect it. I was keying by hand using the built in keyer in the rig, so no button pushing from me. I found that quite refreshing actually.
My first impressions of the IC-7300 are very good, granted it’s no K3/P3 but for the price bracket it appears to be a very competant CW rig, very good DSP filtering, the Noise Reduction is the best I have heard. Still learning how to drive it as the touch screen changes the user experience somewhat, but all in all I am very happy with it.
HF conditions were not great, but then I worked a few Mid to West coast USA which was a surprise. KH6LC was strong on 20m but I didn’t work him this time around. 20m and 40m were the main bands, but I didn’t put as many hours in this time. 122/116 was my claimed score.

RSGB 80m CC CW – 16th March 2016

We got back home from Toronto at around 1430z on Wednesday 16th March. At 2000z I was on 80m doing the Club Championship CW contest. As I was half asleep from the overnight flight and a long drive back from the airport I didn’t do any SO2V or S&P etc, just sat and held a run freq.

Overall 129 QSOs using the Inverted-L and 100W. On balance, happy with that.

RSGB Commonwealth Contest 2016 – VE3/M0PCB

Chloe M0GEJ and I planned to be in Toronto, ON over my birthday weekend, which also happens to be the Commonwealth contest. The prime motive of the trip was a holiday, but the fact that it was to a Commonwealth country was no mistake.

Thanks to John VE3EJ I was able to operate from the VE3MIS club shack in Mississauga, though without Bob VE3CWU I wouldn’t have been able to access the shack. He sat with me the whole 24 hours, thanks Bob! The club shack is hosted in an industrial building with two towers on the roof holding 2x KT-36, a 3 ele on 40m, an 80m loop and a 160m dipole.

Clive was keeping an eye on me...

Clive was keeping an eye on me…

I used the club kit, FT-2000, Alpha 91B with 750W into the antenna system. It was the first time I’d used the FT-2000 and to be honest I couldn’t really get it to sound right for me. Even though I adjusted the side-tone pitch down I found the audio pitch with the IF filter centred was too high, so had to offset by down by 100Hz. Also whenthe volume control was above 0 there was a low level background white noise present between the side-tone, quite irritating. Never-the-less I think I did pretty well.

I was Open section but unassisted. No doubt I missed some BCAs, but I did CQ a lot and I am thankful to those multipliers who found me – there were some whose pile-ups I wouldn’t have been able to break – like A25MC for example.

 Band     QSOs     Pts  Cty   Sec
   3.5      59     875   25    4
     7     177    2330   68    5
    14     329    2935   59    6
    21      56    1160   41    3
    28      15     355   13    1
 Total     636    7655  206   19

Score: 7,655

N1MM+ tells me I worked 5B, 5X, 6Y, 9H, 9J, A2, C6, G, GI, GM, GU, GW, J3, J7, T32 (a nice catch), V5, VE, VK, VP8, VP9, ZB, ZF, ZL, ZS. Not sure how to get it to list the BCAs though.

IMG_20160312_183653

VE3/M0PCB in the contest.

Conditions weren’t great, on 80m I had high noise from the local environment and the path never seemed terribly strong to G. The band/QSO numbers tell the story pretty well. the 3 ele on 40m was working well, but it’s beneath one of the KT-36 antennas so could hear better if it was higher. Noise on 40m was around s4, 80m was about s4-5 and 20-10m were very low.

I managed to stick it out for the whole contest, and I was working people right to the end, but the gaps between QSOs were pretty big at times. I worked 70 non-BERU callers as the rate was slow enough to allow it and I wasn’t deluged with callers.
As always Clive the Contesting Penguin was with me and oversaw the whole contest